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  • global1What is the role of Monarchy in Bhutan?

Bhutanese Monarchy is highly regarded among Bhutanese. A wise and compassionate monarchy has been the foundation of progress and development of Bhutan as a nation since 1907. Unpleasant remarks about the throne are neither welcomed nor expected from foreigners visiting Bhutan, and Bhutanese will proudly guard the dignity of the monarchy.

  •  What is Bhutanese society like?

Bhutanese society leans heavily towards piety, harmony, and tradition. In Bhutan religion (Buddhism) dominates a large demographic of the elderly and the middle aged; harmony and tradition also go hand in hand and are taught frequently in schools and at home.

  •  What is the demographics of Bhutan?

Bhutan, although contrary to its size, the kingdom is quite diverse in traditions and languages. The three most notable groups are the Sharchops, Ngalops, and Lhotshams.


global2What is the food like in Bhutan?

Bhutanese food usually consists of rice and a few different curries. The curries and side dishes will consist of chili, cheese, beef, pork, chicken, and vegetables. Bhutanese food often contains chili and in Bhutan chili is considered a vegetable, not a spice.

  •  What is the currency used in Bhutan?

The Bhutanese currency is Ngultrum (Nu.), but it is pegged to the Indian Rupee. Indian Rupees are widely accepted in Bhutan. The finance office on campus can exchange US dollars.

  •  Is it easy to get around towns in Bhutan?

Usually Bhutanese towns are very small and walkable, but if you need to go somewhere further in your region taxis are fairly cheap compared to other nations. Per kilometre in Thimphu you will be charged approx. Nu. 17, which is approximately around $.25. From RTC to town should be roughly 300 Nu. during the day, and this increases to about Nu. 400 at night.



 What utilities should we expect in Bhutan?

On arrival in Bhutan, expect most places to have 24 hours a day running water and electricity. Although, there are times that the electricity does go out, it generally will return within a few hours.

 How can I contact my family from Bhutan?

Contacting a family member in a foreign country from Bhutan can be done by buying a sim card for ~$2, however many standard hotels will have free Wi-Fi. If you plan to Skype/Facetime your family often, you will want to invest in a data pack, which can be done easily and quite affordably. RTC does have Wi-Fi and it is fast enough to do the basics.


Will I get what I need in Bhutanese stores?

In most large towns in Bhutan you will find most things that you would generally find in a small town in the U.S or Europe.


Are there ATM’s in Bhutan?

Yes, but it is recommended that you bring cash, because fees and surcharges may be high and the services may not be reliable.


HEAlth & safety

12How safe is Bhutan?

Bhutan is generally very safe. However people should apply common sense while out at night, and women are advised to be mindful of interactions when not in group settings.

 How are health services in Bhutan?

Health care is free for everyone, regardless of their nationality. Most hospitals are adequately equipped with competent staff. While in larger hospitals you can schedule an appointment, in other places you will be served on a first-come-first-serve basis. 

 Are the dogs here dangerous?

There are dogs on campus who essentially are “part of the furniture”. Feeding the dogs is not encouraged and please don’t bring dogs into your dorm rooms. If they are barking at you, leave them alone and do not try to challenge them. Generally the dogs are friendly and just happy to be on-campus. Off-campus, all bets are off – exercise caution around stray dogs. Bites are possible and will result in a trip to the hospital to get rabies shots.



13How do I apply for a Bhutanese visa?

If you have been accepted to an RTC programme, we will send the necessary documents for the visa. If the visa is accepted, we will send you a copy of the visa prior to your arrival for international student orientation.


Will I have to pay the $250 a day fee?

No, you will be on a student visa while visiting Bhutan. However, the student visa does have restrictions on places you can travel to and you will have to apply for route permits if you are traveling outside of Paro and Thimphu. Any travel that has not been communicated with the IRO office and is not school sponsored that causes your attendance to drop below the 85% attendance policy at RTC may jeopardize the status of your student visa.


Can my family or friends visit me in Bhutan?

Yes, your family and friends can visit you in Bhutan, however, they will be tourists and have to pay for the tourist visa and go through an authorized tour guide. The IRO can suggest some reputable organizations and also assist you with the route permits if you plan to join them. Please begin corresponding with the IRO to ensure the proper documentation is in order well ahead of the arrival of your family or friends. If you are staying with RTC for longer than a semester, there may be different rules, so please talk to IRO for the latest updates.



What are the laws against smoking in Bhutan?

14It is illegal to smoke in public in Bhutan, but you can smoke at home or in private. You are allowed to bring up to 200 cigarettes, but will be charged 200% in import duty tax. You must be able to produce your customs receipt if asked by the authorities or you could be fined.


Can I visit any region in Bhutan freely?

No, by government law, all foreigners must first get approval from the government before leaving Thimphu or Paro to a different region. Check with IRO for the most recent regulations.

 Can I work in Bhutan?
On a student visa you would not be able to have a paid job or internship.


15Who is the head of state?

His Majesty the King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck. The elected government’s functions are executed by the Prime Minister.


What kind of political state is Bhutan?

Bhutan is Constitutional Democratic Monarchy, with a parliamentary system.

When did Bhutan become a Democratic nation?

In 2008 the constitution was adopted and with it a parliamentary democracy was introduced.


What voting system does Bhutan use?

First past the post system.

16What kind of party system does Bhutan have?

Bhutan has a multi-party system, but only two parties are represented in parliament. The two major parties currently are Druk Nyamrup Tshokpa (DNT) in the majority and Druk Phuensum Tshogpa (DPT) in the opposition.

What are the branches of the government in Bhutan?

Much like the American federal government, the Bhutanese government consists of three main branches – Executive (PM, and ministers), Legislative (MP’s of the upper and lower house), and Judicial. With the inclusion of a non-political Monastic Affairs Commission.

 What is the media like in Bhutan?

As a young democracy, private media is very new and only exists in print and radio. There is only one state run TV station, but social media is a popular avenue for the youth to get their news and engage with others. The formal media covers mostly run-of-the-mill stories and there is not much investigative or sensational coverage like in the west. Advertisements are limited.